“The mind is everything. What you think you become.”―Buddha

Over the years, I had heard the statement “you are what you think you are” so I thought I would do a little experiment on myself. As a busy professional, I need to get up early to be prepared for my day. However, I wasn’t a morning person, which presented a problem. So I decided I would begin telling myself that I am, in fact, a morning person. And I would tell anyone that would listen “I am a morning person.” When my alarm clock would go off and the last thing I wanted to do was get out of bed, I would repeat this statement to myself. When I was trying to get organized in the morning and wanted nothing more than to crawl back into bed, I would say it to myself, and I would especially focus on saying it at night when I would find myself dreading the fact that I had to get up at the crack of dawn the next day.

And you know what…it worked. I am now a morning person. I actually look forward to getting up early. It took a little while for it to happen (probably six months to a year) but the absolute truth is that I am now a very productive early riser. The latest I ever get out of bed is 6:00 a.m. (and yes this includes weekends). In fact, mornings have become my favorite part of the day.

Some forty years ago Dr. Maxwell Maltz wrote a groundbreaking book called Psychocybernetics that explained this phenomenon. In this book, Maltz also coined the term “self-image” as a view we each have about ourselves, including our limitations and capabilities. Using his theory, we can assert that one can neither outperform nor underperform what you believe to be true. In the last decade, further developments in neuropsychology have concluded that we have the power to change our thoughts and change our lives.

I’ve seen it proven to be true, both with myself and with my coaching clients. Whether you want to be a successful athlete, business professional, artist, a morning person, good with numbers—whatever—the real key is to begin telling yourself that you are what you hope to be. I challenge you to prove me (and Maltz) wrong.

Dr. Jason Selk LPC, NCC is the Director of Mental Training for the World Series-winning St. Louis Cardinals, and author of 10-Minute Toughness and the newly released book Executive Toughness, The Mental-Training Program to Increase Your Leadership Performance (McGraw-Hill, Nov 2011).

For more on Jason you can also visit his WEBSITE or on TWITTER.

* Photo by Robert Bruce Murray III